Sometimes delightful, sometimes fuzzy exposure of the financial elite and the chitchat of the rich and glitzy during the...

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MANHATTAN PASSIONS: True Tales of Power, Wealth, and Excess

Sometimes delightful, sometimes fuzzy exposure of the financial elite and the chitchat of the rich and glitzy during the roaring 80's in Manhattan--a kind of mud bath in status. Most of these pieces originally appeared in Manhattan, inc., a Yuppie magazine that stands squarely behind Rosenbaum's fearless forays into investigative lunching. These are not thought-pieces in which the subjects are richly researched and then laid open like the nervous system in Gray's Anatomy. What gets anatomized in a Rosenbaum piece is the interviewee's ego as he spills all into the thirsty ear of the writer's tape recorder. One might say Rosenbaum's subjects are strung up on their own shop-gossip, as he has edited it from his electronic notepad. Often enough Rosenbaum himself disappears into the wallpaper through an amazing chameleon show of imitating his subjects' tone of mind, as if they are chattering to a mirror. Fie never throws the kind of burning toughie that Barbara Walters might whiz, such as ""What kind of hair dye do you use?"" Among the figures self-skewered in this collection are Felix and Elizabeth Rohatyn, who are up in arms about charity balls that ignore the unglamorous poor while raising funds for sanitized institutions such as the New York Public Library. Malcolm Forbes cuts Rosenbaum off in the publisher's wine cellar when Rosenbaum thoughtlessly asks a disconcerting question about Reagan's need to destroy Sandinistas in Central America. Bringing in his own Bumble Bee tuna and Hellmann's mayonnaise, Roy Cohn talks for nearly four hours about the law, Reagan, nostalgia for Bobby Kennedy: ""Cohn has refined the notion of the power lunch to a new level of purity at Le Cirque: all power, no lunch."" Others strangled in their own tapes are Donald Trump, Mario Cuomo, Helen Gurley Brown, Liz Smith, Ed Koch, and ex-CBS News President Van Gordon Sauter.

Pub Date: Feb. 24, 1987

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: Beech Tree/Morrow

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 1987